TOPIK Writing (쓰기) Tips

On the first section, after doing the 어휘-문법, then it comes the time for Writing (쓰기). Even though it has similar point (total 100 points) with other components of TOPIK, it has only half number of questions compared to them: 15 questions. Out of those 15 questions, the first 10 are multiple choice questions, then there are 2 questions in which we need to combine clauses into a very logical sentence, 2 questions of finding best-matching clause to complete the text, and lastly we need to write an essay 400-600 characters.

Since many of them are too complicated to be explained in one article, we will talk only about multiple choice questions in this session. Unlike other sessions, in Writing, every multiple choice question has 4 points, similar from one question to others. Then, just like any other parts of the test, the test makers distribute the answer evenly: 2 answer for every options (2 for 1, 2 for 2, 2 for 3, and 2 for 4), in which the last 2 will be randomly given to 2  certain options (In the 29th TOPIK, the distribution for choices 1, 2, 3, and 4 is: 2, 3, 3, 2 respectively). So even if you running out of time, you still can get 8-12 points by marking similar choices ^_^. Or when you re-check your answer and you find that you have 4 similar answers (i.e. #1 is 3, #4 is 3, #9 is 3 and #10 is also 3), then at least one of them must be wrong.

1. Questions #31-34: Completing conversation

This type of questions is very similar with that of first part of Grammar session, in which there will be a conversation between 가 and 나, and of the sentence has a blank part that we need to fill out (normally the second part, i.e. the 나’s part). Unlike the Grammar questions, these Writing questions test our understanding on the overall meaning of the provided clause. Not only does the grammar differ, they use different vocabularies as well. Therefore, reading the both sentences in the dialogue is much encouraged to grasp the correct meaning and to pick the best respond.

Here is a sample question taken from TOPIK 29 early this year.

: 민수 씨는 회사에 잘 다니는지 모르겠어요.
: 일이 재미있다고 하는 걸 보니 ______________________.
① 열심히 배우고 있거든요
② 일에 좀 익숙해졌나 봐요
③ 천천히 배우는 수밖에 없어요
④ 아직 익숙해지기는 어렵겠지요

The answer for this question is: ② 일에 좀 익숙해졌나 봐요. 가 is wondering whether 민수 doing fine with the job. Then we need to find the best respond that 나 can provide for it. The first clause it’s a reasoning (since it has 보니[까]), as a clue for the second clause. 나 mentions that 민수 once said that the work is fun/enjoyable, and therefore the next clause should be something positive about 민수’s work. Choice “열심히 배우고 있거든요” does not really make sense since working hard/giving best effort does not necessarily make the job enjoyable. The 3rd alternative even provides wrong logic: if the work is fun then normally people will do it faster not learning it slowly as suggested by “천천히 배우는 수밖에 없어요.” Similar reasoning also brings to conclusion that  “아직 익숙해지기는 어렵겠지요” is wrong, if the work is fun then getting used to it will be quite easy. Therefore 2nd choice is the best respond, since she said the work is fun then it seems like she gets used to the work already.

2. Questions #35-36: Selecting expression with similar meaning

Quite similar to the first part, there will be a conversation between 가 and 나. Then some part of the sentence is underlined, and our task is to find a clause with the most similar meaning. Somehow our understanding on the correct usage of grammar is very useful in this question. Once we know what the meaning of grammar and expression used in this clause, then finding its similar one will not be hard. However, if we don’t know the meaning of used grammar or we cannot comprehend the implicit meaning (in some cases) then we might have hard time. For example, the ‘은/는 것 같다’ expression has close meaning with ‘나/ㄴ가 보다’, ‘은/는 모양이다’, and  ‘아/어 보이다.’

For better illustration, I copied a sample of 29th TOPIK question, as follows:

가: 민수 씨한테 왜 그렇게 말했어? 속상해하더라.
나: 그렇게 속상해할 줄 몰랐죠. 괜히 말한 것 같아요.
① 말하지 말걸 그랬어요
② 전부 말하지는 않았어요
③ 말 안 하길 정말 잘했어요
④ 다 말했으면 좋았을 텐데요

From the context, it can be inferred that the underline clause is an expression of regret. 나 said that he thinks he should not say such thing. Therefore we need to find quite similar expression: expression of regretting the said words. The 4th choice is just total opposite of this, it states that saying everything would be nice. The 3rd choice makes quite good sense, stating that ‘not saying was great.’ However,  stating that ‘did not say it’ makes this choice wrong, because he has said it anyway. The 2nd choice means that he didn’t say anything, but the first sentence clearly states that he HAS SAID it, so this option is also not the good answer. Then, the 1st option states, ‘I should not say such words,’ which is what we actually tries to find out. Therefore the best answer is -> ① 말하지 말걸 그랬어요.

3. Questions #37-38: Matching facts based on text

A. Question #37: Comparing announcement with paragraph content.

There will be an announcement about certain event/activity. Then we need to check whether the provided option on paragraph is correct or wrong. Sometimes they request us to find the match/agree statement, while on the other time, we are required to find the doesn’t match sentence. In this section, we have to be careful because normally they will express similar statement from the text in different expression. We have to be able to get used to such similar expression. For example, ‘자기 마감’ means that the registration will be closed as soon as all the required candidate/participants are selected; or ‘3시간 이내’ implies that the allowed time is under 3 hours/within 3 hours/less than 3 hours/up to 3 hours. One good way to crack this question is by looking at the alternative, then comparing to the announcement without reading the announcement earlier. It will save some time. Once we found the answer, then we can stop looking and moving forward to next question.

The following is a sample of such question that appears on TOPIK 29.

TOPIK writing paragraph

(The question is to find different/unmatched content) 37. 한국대학교에서 홍보 도우미를 모집합니다. 홍보 도우미는 학교를 널리 알리는 행사에 참여하고 홍보물의 모델로 활동하게 됩니다. ①신청서는 홈페이지에서 내려 받을 수 있으며홍보팀에 직접 오셔서 제출하면 됩니다.2월 첫날부터 2주 동안 신청서를 받고합격자에게 2월 말에 개별적으로 연락할 예정입니다. 많은 관심 부탁드립니다.

The correct answer (or the wrong sentence) is the 4th statement. It says that the successful candidate will be contacted personally, while in the text, on the part of 결과 발표, it says that the result/announcement will be published on the website.

B. Question #38: Understanding graphical information

In this question, we will be shown two graphics that has relating information. Unless the paragraph question on #37, we need to look at the paragraph first, to get a glimpse on what is the topic of the graph and understand general pattern of the information, such as how the progress of data, which year/group in which the information has the most number, etc. Since there are two graphics, then 2 of the alternatives will be for one chart and the other two are derived from other chart.

Here is another sample from TOPIK 29.

TOPIK writing graphic

얼마 전 발표된 ‘중학교 토요일 체육 활동’에 대한 조사 결과를 보면 ①대다수의 학생은 학교 체육 활동이 필요하다고 응답하였으며이에 못지않게 그렇지 않다고 밝힌 학생도 상당수에 이르는 것으로 나타났다. 한편 학교 체육 활동이 어떤 도움이 됐는지를 물어본 결과 ③체육 활동 후에 건강이 좋아졌다는 응답이 가장 높은 비율을 차지하였고스트레스가 풀렸다는 응답이 그 뒤를 이었다.

The correct answer (or the wrong statement) is #2. It says that quite many number of students say that they cannot do such activity, while in the graph (1st graph) it depicts that ONLY 10% of students say it is not important.

4. Questions #39-40: Completing paragraph with provided clause

This last part of multiple choice questions require some readings. There will be 2 paragraphs with 3-4 sentences, and somewhere in the text will appear a blank a space and we need to find out the best expression for that. There are many types of the questions, but these few steps will work with almost each of them:

  • Find out the main idea (중심문장). If the first and the first and last sentence match well, then that is the main idea. If both are opposite to each other, then try to find out contrasting conjunction, such as ‘그러나, 반면에, 그렇지만, etc.” In that case, if the sentence after contrasting conjunction and last sentence agree upon each other, then we’ve found the main idea. Moreover, main idea somehow quite often comes after words such as ‘따라서, 이처럼, 그러므로, etc’
  • Based on the context, try to determine whether it should agree (mostly) or disagree (happens a few times) with the main idea. After this step, it would be quite easy to get the best answer.

Here is another sample question from TOPIK 29.

39. 사람들은 보통 영화를 눈으로 본다고 생각하지만 이제는 귀로도 영화를 볼 수 있게 되었다. 시각 장애인을 위한 음성 해설 영화가 나온 것이다. 지금까지 시각 장애인 들은 앞을 볼 수 없었기 때문에 영화를 즐기는 데에 어려움이 있었다. 그러나 이제는 (……… ) 그들을 위한 영화 제작이 활발해지기를 바란다.

① 눈으로 영화를 볼 수 있더라도
② 어떻게 영화를 감상하는지에 따라서
③ 귀로도 영화를 감상할 수 있다고 하니
④ 얼마나 영화를 자주 보는지 모르겠지만

In the beginning of the text it says how people normally watch movies, then it describes current state when impaired people can also ‘watch’ by using their ears. If in the past the impaired person cannot enjoy watching drama, then now……………….. . Then answer should be the fact that they now can ‘watch’ it by ears, which is #3.

That’s for the multiple choice part of Writing. I’ll be back soon with other 3 parts of Writing. Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Good luck with the TOPIK. 파이팅!!